Policy 5.45 has sparked significant backlash with a group known as Parents Voice. The policy is Burnaby School District’s new initiative to battle homophobia and protect staff and students from homophobic bullying and harassment.
The parents group criticizes the policy for infringing on their right to educate their children according to their own morality, and has consequently sent out a mass email urging parents to remove their children from class.
The letter states, “Our deeply held beliefs hold as an ideal the concept of the family as founded on the lifelong commitment of one man and one woman to one another in marriage and on their commitment to the welfare of their children. Furthermore, our deeply held beliefs hold that human sexuality is realized in a truly human way only if it is an integral part of the love by which a man and woman commit themselves to one another in marriage. “Nothing taught to our child in the school should undermine our beliefs, nor cause our child to question the moral teaching of our family. The school should seek to protect all children entrusted to it and to the best of its ability protect all from harassment, but it shall in no way teach our child concepts of the family or human sexuality that diverge from our moral convictions.”
The letter goes on to include instructions that suggest parents print multiple copies of the letter and get their children’s principals to sign it to have the letter kept on file. It is also recommended that the letters make their way to the board’s office.
According to district policy as per the Education Ministry rules, children may be excused from their classes if they or their parents find the curriculum topics “sensitive”. This rule however, only applies to courses that focus on sexual health from kindergarten to grade 10.
Resultantly, the school district is pursuing legal advice in order to deal with the letter and parental concern appropriately.
Moreau, Jennifer. (2011, June 28). Anti-homophobia policy sparks parents’ protest. The Province, Retrieved from http://www.theprovince.com/life/Anti+homophobia+policy+sparks+parents+protest/5015428/story.html
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